Recount cranks up in Pennsylvania’s GOP primary for Senate | National News

By MARC LEVY and MARK SCOLFORO – Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — With just 910 votes separating the two leading candidates in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for the US Senate, counties on Thursday prepared to begin the recount between famed cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick.

At least seven counties — Bedford, Clinton, Crawford, Lehigh, Montour, Tioga and Warren — said they will start Friday, while most other counties said they will start next week. The first result of last week’s election remained elusive Thursday as some counties were still counting thousands of remaining ballots.

Oz, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, leads McCormick by just 0.07 percentage points from more than 1.3 million ballots reported by the state on Thursday. McCormick’s campaign has sought votes to close the gap with Oz and launched a legal effort in state courts to force counties to count certain mail-in ballots that might otherwise be thrown out for technical reasons.

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In a recount, most ballots are simply re-scanned electronically. Poll officials hand-check ballots to see if a scanner hasn’t picked up a vote or dismissed it as a double vote, and they could find more voters there, election attorneys say.

The biggest change in the votes could come from the discovery of a data entry error, a human error that could go either way, they say.

The recount will drag out the official result of the Republican primary until June 8th.

The GOP race winner will face off against Democratic nominee Lt. gov. John Fetterman, line up. The Democrats see this as their best chance of getting a seat in the tightly divided Senate. The incumbent, Republican Senator Pat Toomey, is retiring after two terms.

The split between Oz and McCormick is within the 0.5% margin required to trigger a recount under Pennsylvania law, and the state’s top election official ordered the recount Wednesday. The Associated Press will not declare a race winner until the recount is complete.

The deadline for reporting the unofficial results to the state electoral office ended on Tuesday. Even so, counties continued to count thousands of ballots, including provisional, military and foreign mail-in ballots, as of Thursday.

Counties have until June 7 to complete a recount and another day to report the results to the state.

Court decisions could affect the outcome.

McCormick’s campaign has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to order counties to obey a federal appeals court ruling and count absentee ballots that lacked a handwritten date on the outer cover. A lower court has ordered a hearing into the matter for next Tuesday.

Oz, the Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party deny McCormick’s motion. A separate case involving the same ballots could be brought before the US Supreme Court.

Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at twitter.com/timelywriter.

For full coverage of the midterms, follow AP at apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at twitter.com/ap_politics.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

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